Ask The Expert

Is it better to use a credit card or a debit card?



Q: Is it better to use a credit card or a debit card when making a purchase?

 

A: “There are more consumer protections when one uses a bona fide credit card,” says Tom Kramer, deputy county sealer for the Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection. You enjoy protection against liability for fraudulent purchases with a credit card but not a debit card. “And disputing or challenging a purchase is also much easier with a credit card. Because in theory, if I make a purchase with my debit card, the money is taken out of my account immediately; it’s gone. Whereas the credit card company will act as a buffer if there is an issue. Basically there are steps you can take with a credit card that just aren’t available with a debit card.” And perks, too, like extended warranty coverage. “I’ve never seen that kind of perk with a debit card, although some debit cards accrue miles. Of course, by using a credit card you’re incurring interest charges that you wouldn’t incur with a debit card.” Unless, that is, you pay the balance in full.

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